Seattle Wedding Planners Pink Blossom Events, Clutch Events, Perfectly Posh Events and New Creations Wedding Design & Coordination have teamed up to bring you a 4 Part Blog Series covering COVID-19 and planning your wedding during these unprecedented times. To end the series your planning pros at Pink Blossom Events, cover what safety measures you need to incorporate at your 2020 wedding.
After months of planning, watching endless news reports on the Pandemic and most likely adjusting your guest size while you sample your wedding wines once more to make sure they are “just right,” your wedding day is a few months away and you just want to celebrate! We hear you!
While we wish we could just push it aside, we know the worries of Coronavirus are in the back of your mind. Restrictions and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Government and our Washington State Governor are continuing to change and will play a part of your wedding day. Luckily, your wedding planner and vendor team have been working behind the scenes collaborating these last few months establishing new safety measures and protocols as we work towards the opening of events. We are here for you!
To help ease your mind we have pulled together a list of ways to ensure your event is safe for you and your guests.
Note: We are not certified CDC health experts. Our ideas are suggestions based on current guidelines and our years of experience. We know these may adjust down the road as guidelines change however, we, your wedding planner and vendor team, are here to support you and make it the best day ever!
Pop the bubbly, it’s the morning of your wedding! While you are getting ready with your nearest and dearest know your beauty team will have your health in mind. As Megan, owner of OffWhite Makeup & Beauty, said “before COVID-19 we had to protect our clients against things like MRSA, STAPH, Herpes, pink eye, and other contagious bugs. Sterile practices have and always will be very important to us. The additional steps we will take are to wear gloves and a face mask.” Hair and makeup should be the start of a beautiful day!
Keeping Things Clean
Guests arrive at your wedding via self-parking, valet or shuttle service and the first thing they do is open the door, place a card or gift on the gift table, remove their coat and sign your guestbook. How do you keep those things clean? Plan ahead is our motto!
A Friendly Welcome!
Working with Coat Check Complete we have created a number of services that will keep guests at ease as well as have their safety in mind. From Guest Arrival Attendants, a modified version of their Coat Check service to a Self-Serve Coat Check to Bathroom Attendants, the extra staff will ensure your loved ones are in the clear!
- Upon Guest Arrival – attendants will open and close doors so less guests are touching door handles. They are also available to direct friends and family, saving Aunt Marge from the task, and if needed can take temperatures of guests upon arrival.
- Self-Serve Coat Check – Coat Check Complete can set up a “self-serve” coat check where guests hang their own coats and take a coat check number. At the end of the evening, party goers will pick up their own coat, then show the staff member their tag number and corresponding number on the hanger with the coat to leave.
- Bathroom Attendants – from opening and closing doors for guests to wiping down counters at least twice per hour (or more according to need/guidelines) to continuously wiping down door handles of stalls and the door to the bathroom as well as ensuring supplies are well stocked. We wish this service was mandatory before COVID-19! They can even act as your mother and remind guests to wash their hands for 20 seconds!
Hand Sanitizers all Around!
In Part 1 of our blog series Clutch Events worked with Pomp & Revel to create custom hand sanitizers that are just too cute not to use. Companies such as CORT Party Rental are offering hand sanitizing stations. We highly recommend having hand sanitizing stations and individual sanitizers available throughout your venue. And remember to have those hand sanitizing bottles or wipes at each place setting during dinner.
Custom Masks for Everyone!
Who says safety can’t be in style? Companies such as BBJ Linen are offering custom face coverings (aka masks) that can be personalized to each event. From using a fabric that matches your décor to a witty saying, the sky is the limit! These can be placed at the entry to your event as guests arrive for easy grabbing and then later moved to a high traffic area like the bar or restrooms.
No Contact Greetings
Hugs with your friends and family may be in the past but blowing a kiss, wave or an air hug are always okay! Check out sign from Post 1 with ideas on what to communicate to your loved ones.
Minimal Touch Guestbook
Move over polaroid cameras, pens and hello Voast! This minimal touch guestbook is the first video toast booth that asks questions to capture words, wisdom and stories from the people who love you most. Plus, they have rolled out The Virtual Voast in response to COVID-19. Now, even guests who can’t make it can still leave you a heartfelt toast. The Virtual Voast can stand alone or be paired with the Voast booth. It makes sure everyone who can’t be at the event, has a way to spread the love on your important day.
Working with your wedding planner, venue and catering team you will be able to create the best seating arrangements for your ceremony and reception based on your venue and guest count. In both the ceremony and during dinner we recommend grouping people by households and creating more space in between tables and seating vignettes. For the ceremony families in the same household may be seated close together but other guests may want to be a bit further apart. Spacing chairs farther apart or adding in additional aisles (ie. ceremony in the round) will help your guests focus on the two of you and not who is sitting nearby.
For cocktail hour spacing out cocktail tables to keep guests socially distanced and creating multiple lounge areas for intimate groups will keep guests apart while together.
Seating Charts will be necessary for dinner as you will want to group people by households. Guest size per tables will need to be adjusted. For example, instead of eight people at a sixty-inch round, think five, unless they are all from the same household. Using tools such as All Seated or working with you wedding planner you can create layouts that allow tables to be placed six feet apart for social distancing. It may take a little work but it will be well worth it come day of!
For years, catering companies have had a high standard in safety and cleanliness both behind the scenes and in front of the guests. Now more than ever food and beverage service will have the most rigorous regulations. Speaking with Kaspars Catering they have created a COVID-19 Handbook which outlines health and safety measures they are implementing all catering events. The handbook details that “the health and safety of our customers, communities and employees are our primary concern.” From back of the house to front of the house, this handbook will guide them and their community through each event.
Cocktail Hour Apps!
Tray passed appetizers and elaborate cheese boards may be on hold but individual items (Martha Stewart made popular years ago) and Small Plate Stations with an attendant are encouraged!
What About the Drinks?
Caterers such as City Catering Company and Kaspars Catering are offering bottled cocktails and CORT Party Rental has been working behind the scenes on ways we can be safe at the bar, but still have fun in an attractive way! They are rolling out custom service dividers (aka “sneeze guards”) that can be placed on bars to allow distance between the bartender and guests.
Individually plated meals and entrees being covered will be your best friend! Unless covered, pre-plated salads will be a thing of the past and bread baskets will be replaced with individually served rolls. Family-Style service, while one of our absolute favorites will be on hold for now. Buffets are an option but these will come with service dividers and an attendant to serve your guests vs self-serving.
Incorporating elevated cloches can serve double duty at each place setting for your dinner. We have also been working with rental companies such as CORT Party Rental on elevated plate covers.
As Shelby Sewell, owner of Foodz Catering mentions, “Right now and until we have a vaccine against COVID we will be looking at ways to serve food in a safe way at events. This will essentially consist of some type of barrier to keep menu items ‘safe’ by staying covered as long as possible during the process of serving. That’s the analytical way of looking at it but how we do this can be one of many ways! Many planners are looking at plated meals as a way to keep people safe since the open buffet that uses serving utensils shared by all your guests would be a cross-contamination nightmare. Having a gloved, masked server behind a plexiglass barrier would be a safe way to serve guests but private events like weddings would not likely welcome “the lunch lady” look at their wedding! Even a plated service may need additional barriers such as food covers. The ones used in today’s market are industrial in nature as currently they are used for the back of house preparations. So, it’s a good idea but we, at Foodz, like to be more creative. We would rather see guests be served with menu items served under a glass cloche or one of our favorites, the tagine.”
“The tagine has many colors and variable shapes so it could be woven into a couple’s decor. We love the surprise effect when the cover is removed. We want to add to your experience and this is one way to accomplish that task.”
Other options for an experiential meal from Foodz Catering include “a hybrid on a buffet, a Bento Box theme where guests would use a wooden tray and choose items that are individually packaged. This would be a great way to accommodate allergies and food preferences” as well as “a Tiffin Box that was invented for workers in India and spread across Asia. They can be plain and branded or very colorful. Most are 3 stacks high and are often insulated so a hot meal would stay hot.”
Food can still be delicious and creative!
Time to Party!
The moment you’ve been waiting for, the dance floor! Open up the dance floor beyond the standard 16×16’ or 20×20’ dance floor. The more space the better! X marks the spot, or in this case your spot on the dance floor! For indoor dance floors, a notation on the floor may help those partygoers spaced.
If there is an option for outdoor dancing (taking into consideration noise ordinances) get outside! While glow sticks have been popular in the past, we vote glow in the dark face masks to come out during dancing!
Capturing It All!
In addition to your photographer have you considered Live Streaming your ceremony to loved ones who are staying at home be a part of the ceremony and wedding day? Numerous videography companies, in addition to LightSmiths, have created Live-Streaming Ceremony Services, allowing everyone to stay included. You will need a venue-provided wifi or LAN connection however companies such as LightSmiths can provide a 4G hotspot for an extra fee. (Note from LightSmiths: “what it is not: It is not a package designed to replace or compete with the traditional videography package”)
Curious how a service like this works from LightSmiths? “Multiple sources are streamed/recorded at one time. One operator seamlessly switches between cameras live, for the optimum viewing angle and action; this live feed is sent out to the desired streaming source, either YouTube or Facebook. You can choose an invite-only guest list to stream it to, so it is not sent out for the world at large to see. All sources are simultaneously recorded, along with any audio input from your DJ, mics on your officiant, time-coded, and dumped down to a master recording on a SDCARD that you get to replay.”
We hope you are able to incorporate one or many of our recommended safety tips to ensure your wedding will be as safe and enjoyable as possible!! COVID-19 may cause changes on your wedding but we know Love, Laughter and a Happily Ever After will always be true! We can’t wait for all the celebrations to come!
Cheers to Safety!
And thank you for following along in our 4 Part Blog Series covering COVID-19 and planning your wedding during these unprecedented times We hope you found the information valuable and were able to get some great tips along the way!!
Post 1: Vendor & Guest Communication – Before & During Your Wedding by Clutch Events
Post 2: How to Keep Your Vendor Team for a Smaller Wedding by Perfectly Posh Events
Post 3: Planning Your Wedding During COVID-19 by New Creations Weddings